Student Spotlight - Ryan Bilodeau
Ryan Bilodeau knows what most liberals will never admit: "each man needs only the desire to pursue his dreams and the will to carry through on his path to succeed." This belief is at the center of his conservative ideals, which he accepted into his life "from a very young age." Currently a sophomore at the University of Rhode Island, Ryan hasn't fallen into the trap of believing that "one's destiny for the most part is uncontrollable," and works instead to bring new ideas to his campus.
Despite the "inherent difficulties" of being a minority among his peers, and the additional pressure added by professors who take "a proactive approach to stifling the conservative message," Ryan remains passionate about conservative issues. "I am presently interested in a lot of economic issues like the privatization of social security, keeping taxes low and simplifying the tax code." His most important concern, though, is abortion, "because life is the right from which all others descend."
Ryan's most memorable event was "Coming Out Conservative Week, during which U.S. Senate Candidate Mayor Laffey, David Horowitz and former White House staff Bill Harsch came to speak at URI. It received press throughout New England and dominated campus news for months. During that week we also published and circulated 3,500 copies of the Grand Old Paper, URI's first ever conservative newspaper." To combat V-Day on his campus, the conservatives also hosted Luce Policy Institute program officer Monique Stuart, speaking on "PDAY vs. VDAY: Using Absurdity to Expose the Absurd," packing a room "full of both supporters and angry feminists."
Ryan found that "balance was the key" to successful advertising; the conservatives on campus "dared liberals to come to our events by pushing their buttons, but still in a politically correct and tasteful way." Using this tactic, David Horowitz alone "attracted 300 people who came to listen and 150 members of the NAACP who came to protest." His hard work was also rewarded when "the editorials in the school newspaper each and every day following the event let me know how much of a control over campus culture we had obtained."
As the Chairman of the conservative club on his campus, Ryan has "learned to spend my time wisely, create an effective infrastructure, and advertise effectively." Having such an active leadership role "has also taught me how to become politically correct when I need to be and also to build broad coalitions." In his spare time, he also loves to read: A "I have become a sponge for knowledge and definitely hope to translate that into my profession."
Ryan tries to live by the motto "Strength and Honor," and names his father as his personal hero, because "he gave everything he could for his family." He also admires Ronald Reagan, designating him as his favorite conservative leader. To fellow conservative students, he advises, "stay true to your values â€“ the majority of the country agrees with you whether or not a few hippies at your school do."
In ten years, Ryan hopes to be "wherever God calls me to be," but for now he is managing Allan Fung's mayoral campaign for the city of Cranston, Rhode Island and serves as First Vice Chairman of the College Republican Federation of Rhode Island, where he can put into practice the skills he has already attained in his role as a conservative activist.
"I have become a sponge for knowledge and definitely hope to translate that into my profession."